Old Blog

Old Blog Posts - for my reference, don’t feel you have to trawl through this.

August 02nd 2012

There has been a small delay on the blog since my debut post a few weeks ago. For this I can only apologise, but the forces that be decided that it was time for me to leave my computer chair and venture outside for a while.

During my ‘outside time’ I managed to make it all the way to Manchester where I visited (among other things) the Manchester Art Gallery and the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. The main thing I noticed about these places (and Manchester as a whole) is that everything is very European and decisively un-english. The Tram is one example of this but there are many more. Even the buildings seem more German/metropolitan than quaint/English and this all adds to the sense of adventure when you are trying to navigate the city for the first time.

Another thing I did notice amongst the modern work at Manchester’s Art Gallery is the use of texture within 2d design. This is something I have also noticed within my recent internet research trawling my favourite graphics sites. Solid colours seem to be on the out, with a growing use of subtle textures being used instead. Here is a great link that sources ‘subtle patterns‘ to be included in your own 2D design work… The observation of texture in 2D graphics might not be a new one. Instead it could very well reflect my own recent tendency to pay more attention to detail. This has come from the decision to make the ‘Nervous Schematic’ (a sister diagram of the arterial schematic, which will portray the nerves of the human body). I have decided to go into a great level of detail with the ‘Nervous Schematic’ – meaning i’ve been paying more attention to the details of the work I seek inspiration from. The complexity of the ‘Nervous Schematic’ will hopefully mean it will be an educational tool than a piece of medical artwork (unlike the Arterial Schematic which was more artwork than an educational tool).

On an artistic level I want the ‘Nervous Schematic’ to include more colours, a larger variety of line calibre, texture and more information than its predecessor. It may also be released as a series, for example;

- Cranial Schematic

- Somatic Schematic

- Visceral Schematic etc.

There are many other possible divisions of the nervous system.

Asides from the ‘Nervous Schematic’ I have also been gauging interest of other medical students who might be interested in developing a Social Media Seminar to be delivered to first and second year medical students. I have successfully identified a small think-tank of 3-4 other students. Now we just need to outline the aims of the seminar…

Primarily I want to get across that Social Media Sites such as Facebook are an extension of the public domain and should be treated as such. This means you wouldn’t discuss anything on Facebook or Twitter that you wouldn’t say on a crowded bus into town. But for some individuals this metaphor doesn’t quite get the message across and so a lot of preliminary work has been put into producing a simple social media mantra, which is quoted time and time again in the literature on the subject. It is as follows…

The link goes to a useful blog that explains that mantra in more detail, but i’d hope it’s pretty straight-forward.

My secondary objective of a Social Media seminar would be to highlight the fact that people have devised a mantra indicates that professionals are willing to put time and effort into guiding appropriate use of these facilities reflecting the fact that they are potentially very useful. A simple alternative would be to eradicate the use of social media within a professional context, but it’s potential benefit is recognised to be too great to sacrifice in this way. I would like to break the current educational climate that seems to (warning: opinion) want to demonise Social media altogether.

Once i’ve indicated the guidelines for using social media and suggested that it might be potentially useful, my third goal would be to indicate HOW social media is useful. Everything from crowd-sourcing information to peer-peer communication could be referenced here but I won’t list it all for risk of boring everyone.

So in summary there would be three objectives to this seminar for medical students…

1. How to appropriately use Social Media as a Medical Student / Healthcare Professional

2. Why we should use Social Media appropriately (consequences of bad use vs. benefits of good use.

3. What Benefits there are…

I guess all three of these objectives should be proceeded by a brief outline of what Social Media is. Facebook is obvious, but sites like patientslikeme are also ‘Social Media’ and are perhaps more topical. What has to be ultra-driven-home is the fact that ‘Social Media’ is definitely not synonymous with ‘Online Dating’ as was once insinuated by a colleague of mine. Whilst there is some overlap, I can’t imagine anyone would give me permission to guide first and 2nd year medical students into the world of internet relationship-finding.


July 14th 2012

Today has been somewhat of a treat, surrounded by biscuits and jaffa cakes, trying to sow this blog together with a basic website for Occipital Designs. I am pleased to say that I have the basic foundations put in place but more work will be needed in the future.

For example, I was unable to get the ‘Lightbox’ plugin to work, which would have otherwise been a nice ‘extra feature’ to make my images pop. However, I am not too fussed since I don’t really have that many images to show off yet. Some could argue that I am doing things the wrong way round – getting a website up and running before I actually have a portfolio. I would disagree.

The main reason I want the website up and running prior to filling out my portfolio is so that I can show off the “Arterial Schematic”. This is the image that has really set me off on the current project of trying to map out the entire nervous system. I hope that the Arterial Schematic will serve as a precursor to stoke interest in Occipital Designs, the Nervous Schematic project and any future projects – but to stoke this interest I needed an online home… hence this website & blog.

Home sweet home.

Here is the background information on the Arterial Schematic:

The “Arterial Schematic” represents the intricate three-dimensional human arterial system in a highly simplified two-dimensional design reminiscent of the London Underground Map. Each “line” represents an artery within the body; a black circle marks a major vessel, whilst “stubs” stemming from the main lines represent the distal vasculature. The coloured “zones” represent the main divisions of the human body, for example; the yellow zone indicates the neck.

The schematic was inspired by Henry Beck’s work on the first diagrammatic London Underground Map. His aim was to represent complex geographical distribution in a simple and accessible form. He achieved this aim by omitting swathes of information that had plagued previous designers’ versions. Beck’s approach was succinct yet produced a design that was immediately successful in clearly portraying to commuters how to traverse London most efficiently. The “Arterial Schematic” hopes to culminate this idea of communicating complex concepts in a concise manner, mirroring what is expected of medical professionals on a daily basis.

The schematic is a prototype design intended to be part of a series of images that will diagrammatically represent the various systems of the human body. The prototype was inspired by a desire to teach anatomy via a fresh and engaging visual medium. Recent years have seen significant debate over reduced undergraduate anatomy teaching and its later consequences. The hope is that the “Arterial Schematic” and its sister diagrams will inspire students to learn anatomy and encourage them to further their knowledge via other sources.

/End Background Information

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